Welcome to the fourth quarter of 2021. My late year itch to build my favorite songs of the year list has already started to make its presence known. Holiday music is eight weeks away. Let’s kick it off with a pretty standard Friday Playlist.

“Weights” – Bartees Strange
A bonus track from the updated, deluxe version of Strange’s debut album, I love how this just goes from the first beat.

“Spaceland” – Matt Pond PA with Matthew Caws
This band blended in with a bunch of others I gave minor attention to in the mid-2000s. Checking my old iTunes library, which is stashed away on our backup Mac Mini in the basement, I neither purchased nor downloaded and kept any of their songs from that period.

So it’s kind of weird that I really dig their “new” album. I put quotes around new because the disk, The State of Gold, was originally recorded and released in 2015. The band has spent the past few years fighting with their record label for control of the album’s rights. Once they retained those rights, they brushed up the songs, remastered and re-sequenced them, and re-released the album awhile back. I’ve seen references to it pop up on various music sites, but didn’t check it out until this week. I’m glad I did. Almost the entire album is glorious, shiny pop like this.

“Get You Down” – Sam Fender
Goddammit, that Fender kid has done it again.

“October” – The Helio Sequence
There are a lot of good songs about October. This is one of my favorites. It captures the essence of those damp days when winter feels closer than summer.

“Highway to Hell” – Tom Morello featuring Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder
Occasionally I catch part of one of Tom Morello’s shows on SiriusXM. I love when he has his mother on, who is this tiny woman who has been raising hell of one kind or another her entire life. Today is her 98th birthday. So happy birthday to Mary Morello! It was pretty cool to hear Tom recount all the amazing things she has done in her life on this week’s show.

“Long Time Coming” – Delays
I just read that Delays lead singer Greg Gilbert died yesterday at age 44. I LOVED this song back in 2005 or so, listening to it over-and-over-and-over. Somewhere on that hard drive in the basement is an epic live performance of it. They had a few other solid songs, but this was their masterpiece. RIP to Greg.

“Eyes to the Wind” – The War on Drugs
We made it. October is TWOD release month. Still four more weeks of waiting, but at least we’re finally on the same calendar page.